MY LIFE IN BOOKS
Reading has been a pleasure – guilty and other wise –for Adele Parks right from her earliest years...
My mother was a big reader and passed that love of books on to my sister and me. All my earliest memories are to do with books. I remember having fair y tales read to me in bed. My favourite ones were illustrated by Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone. Once I could read I, like many children, threw myself into the many worlds that Enid Blyton provided. I climbed up The Magic Faraway Tree and was whisked away on The Wishing Chair. I didn’t identify it as escapism then, but I loved the fact books could transpor t me, provide different worlds to dwell in. We visited the local librar y and were bought books when we were ill. I still have my copies of Charlie And The Chocolate Factor y, Peter Pan and Chronicles of Narnia. All are unfettered, glorious adventures, not bound by anything as dull as probability or common-sense, packed with villains and heroes who get their just deser ts. I think all of us long for that level of fairness and simplicity in life! Interestingly, next I started to read books that challenged my assumptions. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird broke my hear t. I read it when I was about 13, and grappled with Scout’s obser vations about adult hypocrisy and racism.
By the time I was in sixth form I read almost a book a day (I didn’t do much else!). Naturally, I read ever ything by Jane Austen and the Brontës which meant I had a warped view of romance. I didn’t fare too well in the real world, as teenage boys just couldn’t match up to Mr Darcy or Heathclif f! I read English at university – I was able to read novels all day and say it was work!
Throughout my 20s, when I had various office jobs, I read a lot of the fabulous Marian Keyes on long commutes and during lunch hours. Her work, Jane Green’s Straight Talking and Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones helped me believe that I might be able to write something other people would want to read too. So I wrote Playing Away.
One of the best things about becoming a published writer is that once again I’m in the lovely and lucky position of reading books and saying it’s work! My all-time favourite adult books include Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller, The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey
Nif fenegger and Big Little Lies by Liane Moriar ty. The brilliant thing about books is, there’s one to fit and lift ever y mood.